Library to get an upgrade

Samuel Murphy, Staff Writer

The IU Southeast Library is preparing for renovations of the reference space on the main floor.

The renovations will stem from a series of focus groups conducted last spring by Courtney Block, the User Engagement Librarian. The groups came away with the idea for additional personal spaces for students to work at, as well as more group study areas.

“I asked students what they liked about the library space,” Block said. “Not necessarily about the current [reference] space, but more about why they come to the library and what they do when they are here.”

According to Block, clearing out the current space will be the most difficult part of the renovation process.

The first step of the process was analyzing each of the reference titles in the section and making the decision to keep and store them in another part of the library or update them.

Titles that are not kept or updated will be donated to faculty members and the Better World Books Organization, according to Block.

A concept photo for the library computer and relaxation area.

After clearing the stacks, the shelves will need to be disassembled and moved out of the library to be stored at a different location. Block believes this has been the largest obstacle of the renovation process.

“It’s not as easy as just disassembling some shelves and moving them out of the way,” she said. “It’s a huge team effort that has involved multiple departments within the library, and which will have to involve faculties to help us move and store the shelves.”

Budgetary constraints affecting the entire campus will also be a factor in the renovation plan.

Block seemed confident that the project could be completed, even with the budget restrictions taken into consideration.

“We might have to get creative,” she said. “We may have to go find a grant that is out there or may have to repurpose furniture in a different spot of the library that is not really being used. I think there are definitely ways to accomplish this.”

A second round of focus groups will be conducted during the fall semester in the library. Students are invited to come participate and look at potential designs and ideas for the renovations.

Informal ideas have been released on the Library’s Instagram and Facebook pages for students to see what kind of ideas will be presented at the second round of focus groups.

“It’s sort of going to be like a design studio,” Block said. “I’m going to have a bunch of pictures and furniture and students can create the space that they would like to see in the library, based on what they told me from the first round of focus groups.”

The new library space is anticipated to be a mix of study and social space. This will include group tables, comfortable and modular furniture that can be rearranged and a possible browsing section of popular fiction.

“We have a lot of readers on campus and I think it’s important to provide the space and resources for that,” Block said.

A concept photo for the library computer and relaxation area.

Block is hoping that by t

he spring semester the bookshelves will be cleared out and they will be able to move forward on furniture and redesign. They hope to have a final product following the focus groups.

“We see how students use the library and things that might be lacking,” Block said. “I don’t want to just assume I know what is best to put in that space. Hopefully, after the focus groups, we will have a finished product to fill that space.”

Students are encouraged to participate in the second round of focus groups for the library renovation ideas. They will be held in the library later this semester in October.